Majesty 2: The Level-1 Elite Lord Gambit

The strategy I was starting to formulate at the end of my last post worked like a charm. And the reason it works all comes down to money. There are six specific hero types (Paladin, Blademaster, Beastmaster, some special kind of archer, and two flavors of specialized priestess) that we can think of as “elite” (although the game doesn’t use that term) — they’re more powerful than normal heroes, especially at higher levels, and they cost more to hire. Every elite type costs 1000 moneys at level 1, ten times as much as the cheapest unit (rogues), and a high-level elite-type Lord from a different map costs positively unwieldy amounts to hire: if you can afford them, you’re probably in good enough shape that you don’t need them. But a low-level elite is good enough, because it doesn’t take them long to become high-level elites. Now, you start most maps with 2-4000 in cash, which is enough to hire a fresh elite and still have some left over for buildings, but before you can do that, you need to build the temple that produces that type (cost: 3000), and the prerequisite for that is a level-3 palace (2000 for the first upgrade, 5000 for the second), so that’s 10k before you can get started, and in the meantime you have to build other units just to defend yourself. But with a level-1 elite Lord in the wings, you only have to build a 1k Lord Tower, well within the starting budget, and well worth it.

The tricky part of this approach is getting a level 1 elite Lord in the first place. You pretty much have to hire a new elite type just before winning, not giving the new hire enough time to either level up or engage the boss and get killed. Also, of course, you can only use each such Lord this way once, because once they’ve done a mapworth of foe-slaughtering, they’re not level 1 any more. Still, it worked so well on the level where I was stuck before that I took special care to do another last-minute hire there to use on the next level, where it also worked beautifully. There’s a tremendous moment when you suddenly realize that your peasants’ houses are actually staying up for significant lengths of time — yes, the poor are the primary casualties and all that, and a good buffer zone of peasant housing around the buildings you actually care about is often the simplest way to preserve them — and that you can start thinking about going on the offensive.

That leaves the final map, which I haven’t yet won. It shakes things up by giving you a ton of cash at the very outset — not an endless supply, but enough to open up options that I hadn’t had to consider before. Hiring a high-level elite lord (or an even higher-level non-elite lord) at the outset is suddenly possible, but so is upgrading the castle and making an elite factory or two. What you can’t do is pursue both of these routes at once. I’ve got some experimenting to do.

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